Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke

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Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke
Goodrick-Clarke in his office
Born (1953-01-15)15 January 1953[1]
Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK
Died 29 August 2012(2012-08-29) (aged 59)[2]
Occupation Historian, writer, professor
Nationality British
Alma mater University of Bristol (BA)
St Edmund Hall, Oxford (D.Phil)
Subject History of Western esotericism
Notable works The Occult Roots of Nazism (1985)

Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (15 January 1953 – 29 August 2012) was a British historian and professor of Western Esotericism at University of Exeter, best known for his authorship of several scholarly books on esoteric traditions.

Early life and education

Goodrick-Clarke was born in Lincoln, UK, on 15 January 1953, and was an Open Exhibitioner at Lancing College. At Bristol University he studied German, politics and philosophy and gained a first with distinction.[3] Moving to St. Edmund Hall, Oxford Goodrick-Clarke took a D.Phil with a dissertation on the modern Occult Revival and theosophy at the end of the nineteenth century.


Goodrick-Clarke's Oxford DPhil dissertation was the basis for his most celebrated work, The Occult Roots of Nazism. This book has been continually in print since its first publication in 1985, and has been translated into twelve languages.

Later works include his well-regarded Paracelsus: Essential Readings, published in 1990, and Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity.

In his varied career, Goodrick-Clarke worked as a schoolmaster, banker, and a successful fundraiser for the Campaign for Oxford. In 2002, Goodrick-Clarke was appointed a Research Fellow in Western Esotericism at the University of Lampeter,[3] and then in 2005 he was appointed to a personal chair in the department of History at Exeter University. As Professor of Western Esotericism and Director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO), Goodrick-Clarke developed a successful distance-learning MA in Western Esotericism and successfully supervised a number of doctoral students. While at Exeter he wrote The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction, published in 2008.

In 1983, Goodrick-Clarke was one of the founder members of "The Society," an informal London-based association of professional and amateur scholars of esotericism, including Ellic Howe, the publisher Michael Cox, John Hamill, and the scholar of Rosicrucianism, Christopher McIntosh. Goodrick-Clarke was a founding member of both the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism and the Association for the Study of Esotericism (ASE), in America. He was a faculty member of the New York Open Center from 1995.

Later life and death

Goodrick-Clarke was the Director of the Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO) within the College of Humanities at Exeter until his death on 29 August 2012.

Personal life

Goodrick-Clarke is survived by his wife Clare, whom he married in 1985.[3]




  1. "Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas" in Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
  2. In memoriam Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, 1953–2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Obituary". The Times. 11 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links